The Great Northern Brewing Company in Whitefish is undertaking its first expansion project in 19 years.
With the help of Montana West Economic Development’s loan program, Great Northern received the financing necessary to meet the brewery’s growing demand and distribution.
“We’re now distributing throughout every market in the State of Montana, and we simply can’t produce enough beer with our current fermentation capacity,” said General Manager Marcus Duffey.
On March 31, three existing fermentation and conditioning tanks were removed to make way for the new tanks. They will be loaded and shipped to the North Carolina brewery that purchased the used tanks from Great Northern. Monday’s work was followed by the new tank installation beginning Tuesday morning.
Three 40 barrel tanks are being replaced with three 100 barrel tanks, according to Duffey.
“We’re very excited for the expansion. The installation will be about like fitting a square peg in a round hole. The tanks will have less than one foot of ceiling clearance,” said Duffey.
The new fermentation tanks will increase Great Northern’s production capacity by 50 percent. Great Northern brewed nearly 4,500 barrels of beer in 2013. They are expecting to produce over 6,500 barrels in 2014.
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